Sunday, 13 May 2012

Prawns in Chili, Garlic and Tomato Sauce with Feta

Lately I have discovered raw prawn cutlets in the freezer section at my local supermarket.  They are really reasonably priced and so I have been experimenting with different prawn recipes.  A good friend gave me this idea and what I love about this recipe is that it is ridiculously simple to make but has a lovely rich flavour.


1/2 - 1 finely chopped chili
1 clove garlic crushed
1 - 1 1/2 cups of good quality pasta sauce (I like the Bertolli Classic)
15-20 defrosted prawns
slices of feta cheese
good quality olive ciabatta bread

Fry the chili and garlic in a little olive oil for just a couple of minutes being careful not to over brown.  Add the pasta sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced slightly.

Add the prawns and cook for a couple of minutes or until prawns just begin to change colour.

Divide the prawn sauce between 4 or 6 ramekin dishes.  Top with feta and place under a hot grill until feta is melted and slightly brown (approx 5 mins but keep an eye on the dishes)

Serve with a couple of slices of warm olive chibata bread

Whole Thai Style Fish with Chilli and Lemon Grass

This recipe has been taken from the Australian Woman's Week Kitchen cookbook.

1 whole snapper scaled and gutted, (get the fish shop to do this for you)
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh lemon grass
1/4 cup fresh coriander
1-2 fresh small chillies chopped finely
4cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tbls good quality Thai Red curry paste
2 teas lime juice
1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce
extra fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Make 4 - 6 slashes diagonally across both sides of the fish.  Place the fish in a baking dish lined with baking paper.

Mix all the other ingredients together except for the garnish and pour half over fish.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes at 180oC (or 160oC if fan forced).

Remove the foil and brush the fish with the remaining marinade.  Place the fish under the grill until the skin is crisp.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Leftover Roast Vegetable and Pesto Frittata

When I cook a roast dinner I usually roast extra vegetables.  With the left overs I can make a quick easy lunch or dinner with minimal effort.


1 onion finely chopped
2 rashes of Bacon finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
Left over roast vegetables (approx 2 cups)
spinach 1 - 2 cups
1/4 cup fresh pesto
6 - 8 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Fry onion, garlic and bacon in a frypan that can go on the top of the stove and in the oven.  (I have a shallow Le Crueset which is perfect)  When the onion is soft, add the roast vegetables and spinach and cook until the roast vegetables are heated through and the spinach is wilted.  Add the pesto and stir through.  Mix the parmesan cheese into the eggs and pour over the vegetables.  Cook on the top of the stove until the bottom is set and then finish off under the grill until the top is golden brown.   Serve with a lovely fresh green salad.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry

Although stir-frys are a little bit of work before cooking, they are very quick to cook.  If I am busy with kids activities, I often get all the preparation done earlier in the day.  When we race in the door, I can get dinner on the table in a very short time.  Marinating the meat earlier in the day will intensify the flavour.  This recipe has been taken from one of the little Women's Weekly cook books called Low-Fat Delicious.

1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup light soy
1/4 cup honey
1/4 lime juice
Fresh chillies, sliced thinly (optional)
2 tsp cornflour
3 cloves garlic
4 chicen breast fillets, thinly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
baby corn fresh
2 tsp lime rind
2 cups bean spouts
1 cup thai basil
1 cup fresh coriander leaves

In a non reactive bowl mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, chillies, cornflour and the garlic.  Add the chicken and refrigerate for a couple of hours or over night.

Cook the chicken in batches in a wok with some vegetable oil, removing from the wok as cooked.

Stir-fry the onion and corn until onion is soft.  Return the chicken to the wok and the reserved marinade and rind.  boil until the sauce thickens.

Remove from the heat and stir in the bean spouts and herbs.  Serve on a bed of steamed rice.

Caramelised Apple Cake

Most people hate it when I serve this cake because it is impossible to stop at one serving but it is my most requested recipe.  So for those that have asked for it, here it is, although best not to count the calories.

4 medium granny smith apples
160g butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
125g butter, soften, extra
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra or vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup milk
3/4 cup pouring cream

Preheat the oven to 180 oC/ 160 oC (fan forced).

Line the bottom of a 20 cm springform pan with baking paper and grease the sides with butter.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples.  (I cheat by using a Avanti Apple Peeler and Corer.)  Heat the 160g of butter in a heavy based frypan until melted.  Add the apple and cook until apple is soft and slightly brown.  Add the brown sugar and cook stirring until the mixture thickens slightly. Set aside until later.

Beat the remaining butter, sugar and vanilla paste until light and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.  Add the flours, bicarb and milk.  Mix until just combine.

Pour 1/3 of cake batter into the prepared tin.  Gently lay 1/2 of caramelised apple pieces over the batter.  Top with the remaining batter.  Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.  (I usually check after 30 minutes however.  Too check if cooked pierce with skewer and if comes out clean, the cake should be cooked.)

Meanwhile, add the cream to the remaining apple mixture.  Bring to the boil and reduce the sauce for approx 10 minutes.  Keep stirring while you are reducing the sauce.  Pour the apple sauce over the warm cake and serve with good quality ice cream or whipped cream.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Left over casserole pies

I never waste a left over casserole or bolognese sauce.  My slow cooked Beef casserole makes the best ever pies.

I use the silicon muffin tins when I make the pies because they come out much easier.

Using ready rolled sheets of pastry, I cut a circle of pastry approx twice the diameter of the muffin diameter.  Carefully push the circle of pastry into the muffin tin.

Using a pastry brush, I brush each pie bottom with beaten egg.

Fill with left over filling and fit a smaller circle of pastry on the top, pinching the edges as you go.  (I get a little fancy and place a plait of pastry around the edge.)

Brush with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is lovely and golden.

Slow Cooked Beef Casserole

There is nothing more warming and comforting as my slow Cooked Beef Casserole.  I know that casseroles are a little work, but the great thing is that they can be cooked the day before, they can be frozen and saved for later, and I often recreate a different dish with any left overs.    There are a few tricks to getting a great casserole.  Firstly, make sure you have a really good casserole dish which can be taken straight from the top of the stove and placed in the oven.  (Why waste all those fantastic carmelised onion and meat flavours created when browning your meat.)  Secondly, make sure you allow enough time for cooking so that the meat almost melts.  This recipe has been modified from Stephanie Alexander's Bolognese Sauce

1/4 plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
700g diced gravy beef
Olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 stick of celery finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
100g diced pancetta
1/2 cup dry white wine
freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups chicken stock
1 can pureed tomatos
1 tub tomato paste
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

Dredge the beef in the seasoned flour.  Heat oil in casserole dish and brown the meat in batches.  Set meat aside.

Heat a little more oil in the casserole dish.  Add the onion, celery, pancetta, and garlic.  Cook until onion is nicely brown and slightly caramelised.

Return the beef to the casserole dish.    Add all the other remaining ingredients.  Place in the oven set to 160 oC and cook for at least 1 hour or until the meat is falling apart.

I like to serve this casserole with either mashed potato or couscous.